[By Mary DeCamp]
The Great March for Climate Action has been on its cross-country walk from Los Angeles, CA to Washington, DC for six and a half months now. We’ve traveled across eight states. We’ve hiked over the Great Divide and are now close to the Great Lakes. What an amazing way to explore this part of the planet that we call our home country!
Last night we slept in the Good Shepherd Montessori School. My room was in the religious studies classroom where they had a model of an archaeological dig in Bethlehem, blueprints of the site, a topological map, an atlas, a globe, and various written poster boards dealing with religion, geography, and culture. It was a wonderful stay, in part because today is a “stay day” where we are able to remain in one location for two nights, giving us time for meetings, planning, and some relaxation. A sign on the wall reads, “When all is in silence, the soul can sing.” This was particularly fitting because last night I took up the role of the one holding the silence in our group.
At the beginning of the March, Sean Glenn joined us. She had taken a vow of silence; I understood the reason was because climate change is unspeakable. Other reasons are to stand in solidarity with all of those whose voices are not heard (think ecological injustice done to sinking Pacific islanders). The polar bears and other large species facing extinction cannot speak for themselves. Mother Nature has no spoken words to communicate with us. There are many reasons for taken a vow of silence, and it is now my turn to represent the voiceless.
The night before last we stayed at a public park in New Carlisle, IN; a public park with clearly posted signs stating, “No domestic animals in park.” Since I’m the human companion for our little March dog Birdie, other plans were made for our overnight accommodations. We were invited to stay in the cottage of a local woman who lives in a small village near there. Once word was out that Birdie and I were invited, five more women from the March approached the hostess and secured an invitation to escape their tents for the night. And in the morning we were treated to a beautiful table (an original Duncan-Phyfe, no less!) set with fine china, sparkling crystal, and heirloom silver.
But lest this post leads you to believe we live the life of Riley on this Climate March, earlier this week we spent the night at a DuPage County Forest Preserve with the worst mosquito population I’ve ever encountered. The flies at that camp were the size of quarters! We learned it was declared a superfund clean-up site due to the toxic waste spewed by Kerr-McGee (now defunct and shape-shifted to a new corporate identity to cleanse the taint and the legal responsibility, I guess). And we awoke that following morning to a mysteriously broken coffee pot. Pure misery!
We’ve stayed in a New Mexico detention center, a Colorado women’s shelter, numerous churches, barns, fields, public parks, national preserves, community halls, and lots of residences. What a marvelous way to catch a glimpse of how others choose to live their lives. What terrific variety there is out there in our country.
Climate Marchers have been met with generous hospitality in each of the eight states we have visited. People and communities care deeply about what is happening and want to support our efforts to raise awareness about what is happening and what might be done about it. If you, dear reader, know of anyone (or ARE someone) along our route, please suggest that they adopt a Marcher when we pass through their/your town.
Love to each of you!